Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas - The awesome + The awkward in Acworth

The Awesome
·         Our Tuesday Christmas eve district meeting was the greatest! We borrowed costumes from a family in our ward and we all were different roles in the Nativity. It was so happy and such a spiritual experience. We are such a family, I couldn’t be more thankful.
·         Christmas week couldn’t have been more awesome in the awesomeness scale! Over Christmas Eve and Christmas we counted over 300 people we saw and invited in various ways to come closer to Christ. Luke 2 has changed my life and led me to believe that with missionary eyes, everything relates back to the work of salvation! Christmas morning was wonderful. I was brought to tears at the love I felt each package I opened. It was as if I was sitting right there with my family and friends! I couldn’t be more grateful. But the best part of the morning was when Sister Watts opened up her new scriptures from our family. The joys of giving are inexpressible. No wonder the Savior was so happy, all He did was serve. Thank you so much to all!
·         Skyping y’all was perfect. Well the limited time wasn’t but that short interaction with home was such a blessing. I’m so grateful for technology and how I could see Blakey’s freckles, Sammy’s precious crooked teeth grin, Britt + Tanner’s lover eyes, Dad’s watery eyes and Mom’s radiant bright glow. I love you all so much.  Oh I love you all. So much. I watched Sammy’s elephant song video back and it’s hysterical! I have the greatest family, ever!
·         Jonathon x2. We are teaching two guys named Jonathon and they’re our miracle for this week. Jonathon #1 is a 16 year old who we seriously have killer lessons with. The District worthy of lessons! He is so prepared so we can go in , speak and let the Spirit do the teaching, follow up on prior commitments, extend invitation for more and we’re out in 40 minutes. We leave each lesson in a spiritual daze! It’s awesome! Jonathon #2 is a man we tracted into whose father has been inactive forevs but his entire extended family is actively members of the Church. He said on approach, “I’ve been thinking lately that I needed to check out the Mormon Church. All my family is so happy and unified; their lives are so blessed and I want that.” Golden! He rocks and are so grateful for our Jonathans!
·         Angel is an investigator who had a really really really rough Christmas week. Some of the trials these people go through blow me out of the water; the faith that some people innately posses is evident to me that the Lord doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Angel is incredible. The member we involved this week with Angel came to church this Sunday for the first time in years! The work of salvation is real + the Lord is in change. As I’m witnessing the reactivation of Angie helping bring Angel into the fold, I’m speechless. The Lord is perfect. I learning to get out of the way and let Him work His miracles.
The Awkward
·         After finishing 24 hours of miracles on exchange with Sister Stephens in Cedartown…I got pulled over. LOL, right? Haha my life. So the police man pulls me over and I’m cracking up and he comes to my window and OH MY GOSH this man was attractive, he could have been a stand in for Josh Dumell (sp?)! He totally is like flirting with me and I WAS SO AWKWARD. Not but really, like it was obvious I’ve been out of a while…I couldn’t let myself look in his eyes!!! Hahaha he took my info, came back and continues to flirt!!! I was dying. He asked me how I pronounced my name and if he could take me out sometime!! Then asks me what brought me to Georgia and I quickly respond, “The Lord!” and give him a pass along card with the elder number in the area hahaha oh my and then he says I’m way too cute and he could never give me a ticket. He let me off with a warning…I was going 61 in a 45!! Whoops! But Yikes. I was so weird.
Ah! I have more awko taco stories to write by time is ticking! Just know that I love you and like I've said before, my heart beats for missionary work in Acworth but keeps it's rythm from the love and prayers from y'all. Thank you for loving me like you do, I'm so undeserving but so grateful! Happy New Years!! My thoughts are with you Miyahara's in San Jose :) Have a fun week! I love being a missionary! Oh and I'm staying anothew transfer in Acworth with Sister Watts!! Horrayy!!!! :)
Your southern sista,
S. Miya!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What will you give for Christ(mas)?? 12/16/2013

It’s been just another glorious week in Acworth! I really mean it when I say I couldn’t be happier. The subject of this email is a question asked to me and I wanted to bring it back to y’all. It’s that beautiful time of the year where the Savior gets to be so publically appreciated. In the hurry of purchasing other gifts for our loved ones, we just gotta slow down and take a moment to think about what we can give the Savior this Christmas! It's worth it, i promise. What a perfect oppurtunity to better ourselves! Personal progression has to be the most beautiful doctrine. Becoming our best selves is exciting! Sure, it takes sacrifice + courage + patience + humility but arent those all things we want to posses anyways?  
This week's 'Miracles of Exchanges'
::Sister Chidester in Cassville. Their area had been considered “dead,” a small country town that has had many many missionaries come through. We desperately needed a miracle day to establish a real teaching pool and get things rolling. We prayed so hard. We knew there were people who would receive us and we had the faith to find them. 1st person we knocked into…15 year old girl, thirsting for the truth of the gospel! Dakoda’s eyes dazzled at the message of the Savior. She accepted to be baptized on January 4th.  like whaaaat thank you HF! Next miracle, we were teaching this less active lady lesson 1 and in walks in her daughter in-law. She joined our discussion and with tears in her eyes said that she may have discovered the answer to her prayers. She accepted to be baptized in January too! It was the perfect missionary day. We found so many new investigators that updating the area book took ages that night! I cant even tell you how humbled we felt.  It was just not real, never to have been thanks to us but always thanks be to God. I’ve never felt God so in control than I did on that blessed exchanged.  
::Sister Carroll (Rome sister) in Acworth. The Lord works through anything good right? Well a fun miracle story was how the Lord worked through our GPS. Three times in a row the GPS led us to the totally wrong place. “You’ve reached your destination” would sound, and we wouldn’t be anywhere near the place we typed into the GPS but we trusted and went with it. We knocked on the rando doors it took us to and every person we saw that it wrongly directed us to wanted to hear more and accepted invitations to come closer to Christ. We laughed and thanked Heavenly Father. This is the Lord’s work, not mine.
::Sister Freeman (Mars Hill Sister) in Acworth. It’s hard to just select one miracle story! Okay so we felt strongly we needed to tract this one street. Leaving after little success, we saw a car pull up to a house that didn’t answer. We knew we had to be on that street, so those people had to be the reason! We walked up and she said she couldn’t really talk because she had the clean the house. Perfect opportunity to serve as Ammon did! We cleaned that house inside out! She loved us and was thrilled to listen to what we had to say. She had been offended by religion in the past but knew there was a God above. We taught lesson 1 and she just totally accepted it! She committed to be baptized in January! This morning at 7:30am we (us, the elders and some members) raked more leaves than imaginable off her lawn. There is nothing happier than serving others.
This is already the best Christmas ever! Our commitment to the Lord this holiday season in the South is to strengthen each person's faith in the Savior we see. We run people down; no one can get past us without hearing a brief testimony and scripture about the Savior and His restored church : ) It’s the greatest! I love this work of salvation. Members + missionaries = the Lord’s way.
Have a blessed week and I’ll let y’all know when we get to Skype next week!! Yipe!!!
LOVE YOU, Sister Avery Miyahara

The "Before"

And "after" (can you spy Avery?)

Sweet and powerful Sister Chidester

Mars Hill Sisters

Sisters in our district!  We sang Silent Night with a uke at a Zone Training meeting.  Sister Moa from Hawaii is cool like that


Chocolate cake and Sister Watts - what more could I want?!

One of the greatest families in Acworth!  The Petersen's

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

'Tis the Season to be a Missionary! 12/09/2013

Tis the season to be a missionary!12/10/13

I'm overjoyed with the spirit of Christmas these days! There is nothing quite like serving the good Christians of Georgia during the holidays. I'm surrounded by individuals and families with vibrant testimonies and a deep love for the Savior Jesus Christ (it's the coolest!). gosh dang it, I left my notebook in the car and the computer clock is a tickin so I think i may just have to wing my thoughts this week.

I'm emailing later because today, the Cartersville stake Relief Society threw the missionaries the biggest Christmas extravaganza ever! It was incredible. Santa! food galore! white elephant exchange! ugly tie contest! 10 book of Mormons with member family's picture and testimony for each companionship! hand made scarves for the sisters! ornament that had the Atlanta temple inside and said "Georgia Atlanta mission Christmas 2013"! A pillow for each missionary with "Atlanta 2013" sewed into it! And we got to carol to the old people! It was insanely over the top. How grateful I was for the sweet women who wanted us to feel loved this holiday season. Man, I could be so so much more charitable and selfless. I'm constantly humbled by the kindness people offer, especially at such inconvenient times.

This week rocked. Even though two entire days were spent in meetings, the work still moved forward! Crazy going from 2 minutes away from the mission home to 2 hours...needless to say sleep was a rarity this week. But you know what made my mornings so bright...even at 4:30am...MOM! You're precious thoughtful hysterical Christmas advent calendar gift cute thingy! Thanks for that. We had mission leadership council one day and new missionary training the next (for all trainers and trainees). I was so uplifted by love as we all supported and motivated each other. The Georgia Atlanta Mission is truly a family. President and Sister Harding lead us with so much love it's not real! They're incredible! Besides driving a total of 8 hours in the dark (early morning and late evening), our two days of meetings were such a booster!

The Relief Society Presidency made the adorable ornaments and invitations to their Christmas party in the coming week. We volunteered to deliver them and oh my goodness MIRACLES! Most of the "lost sheep" have moved which means prime families now living in the homes. We found so many prepared hearts living in the homes of addresses on our roster. As we came bearing a simple gift and a bright smile, people were SO receptive to a message about the Savior. We were blessed to have the opportunity to bear our personal and special testimonies of the true nature of the God these people worship. Not only were we able to see so many miracles in finding, but we were able to give the bishop lists and lists of
updates info for the roster! win win! I LOVE ACWORTH!!

I loved the quote from the Prophet David O Mckay that says "true happiness comes from when we make others happy". That is my sure knowledge. As we give our love and time to others this season, may we all feel that kind of love the Savior had for His Father and for all of us.

Peace and Blessings!
Sister Miyahara!

Yes, this is Brittany (Mulan)

Zone Christmas Party

Monday, December 2, 2013

Perma-smiles. forever + always 12/2/13

Ah! Where to even begin?! Please be patient with my brain, which is in SHAMS as I attempt to put into words the joyous times of this past week. Firstly, I love the Lord + it is Him who has brought me the happiest of happys this week! I feel like a colored Baptist lady who wants to jump out of my seat in the library and scream “hallelujah!” and do a little happy dance! I love this life, I love this gospel and I love this week.  Too bad my physical body can’t keep up with my spiritual soul! I can’t wait till heaven when we don’t have to take hours out of our day to rest our fleshy bodies but we can just live + love + learn all the day long! Hahah k I’m getting carried away.
This week the Chase family was gathered to give thanks for all the blessings we’ve been given (yes, Sister Watts and I have been adopted.) I feel like Hannah Montana (no not Miley Cyrus…btdubs, I'm totally still in this world but not of this world and holy heck, poor poor girl!). Sister Watts and I have been living the best of both worlds. We wake up to family scripture study/ brekky (breakfast) and come home to dinner and family prayers and night chats yet… we get to go out all day and work our butts off for the Lord and His glorious work! It’s da bes. I’m so grateful for this wonderful family and all they’ve been doing to love us into their family.
We had the neatest miracle this Thanksgiving. A local organic farmers market donated boxes and boxes and more boxes of food for us to give out to families. I can’t express to you the joys of serving others. We were able to be an answer to so many family’s prayers yet I think I was the one who got the most out of it. Mothers cried, husbands shook our hands with so much gratitude, children jumped for joy, it was just so incredible. But the greatest miracle happened at the last stop. We were on our way home (to the Chase’s) for Thanksgiving dinner, we had a one box of food left. We pulled over and prayed that the Lord would lead us to that one house that would be blessed by this box. So I started slowly driving and both of us agreed a certain house. We knocked on the door, no answer. Why would we both feel so strongly that we should pull over to this random house? As we got to the car, a young man came out. His southern accent was alarming. This was no transplant city boy. His odor was evidence of his need for this box.  After we taught him the message of the restoration, he casually goes, “your guy missionaries have been over here teaching my grandma.” Come to find out, this was a family the elders have been working with but haven’t been able to get to the son. Kyle felt the spirit so strong that Thanksgiving day. He enthusiastically committed to come to church. As we bore our testimonies, we knew Heaven’s angels literally led us to this random rickety home next to the train tracks. He came to church and he loved it. There is no question that the Lord is in this work.
I want to bear my testimony that the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in these last days. I know with absolutely surety that Jesus the Christ leads this church and this work. I know that through the prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord brought back in completeness His gospel. I believe that covenants or promise with God are what will enable us to pass through the gates and into heaven, but it is only by proper authority of God these have to be made. I’m grateful for the covenants I’ve made with God when I was baptized and when I went to the temple that are binding the Lord’s love + guidance to me. I know under those sacred covenants, families can be together forever. The knowledge I have of God’s great plan of happiness for me and my family is real, undeniable and so perfectly true. I know that we are all children of God, heirs to His kingdom. Our lives are full of purpose. He asks for so little and gives so much in return. I’m grateful for this life and for my knowledge of the life to come.  
I just want to jump for joy! Alma sums up what I am feeling perfectly in Alma 26:16 ," Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel."
K so for the Funny stuff:
We have an investigator who is partially deaf and she needs us to literally yell when we are teaching here and I always burst from laughter and have to continually pray to keep the spirit and reverence but it’s just too funny. Picture me and my comp teaching/screaming about plan of salvation. Needless to say it’s true and it’s true no matter how it is delivered.
We’re at this less active family’s home and they have SO MANY DOGS. Truthfully my immune system has almost wiped out my allergies to animals out here (because every household in GA has cats + dogs GALORE) but they still aren’t my #1 and probably will never be. I like to think God gave me too much love for humans and spared little for animals.  Anyway, so this PITBULL comes walking out of the room, glaring at me and Sister Watts. I almost pee myself in fear alone THEN they mention how she is a rescue pit and has trust issues. Excuse me what? At a point in the lesson she starts growling at us. I hear myself laughing/fearfully crying and this poor lady is not even phased by our obvious terror. I grabbed my blue Book of Mormon to shove in its mouth if she went to bite me and carried on with the lesson.  We started screaming when we got back into our car, in shock we came out of there alive.

Mom + dad, I love you! Cheers to the freaking best week ever and cheers to living the best of both worlds! (cue: hannah montana's laugh)
Peace and Blessings!
Sis. Avery Miyahara

Monday, November 25, 2013

Not only did Katnis catch fire this week….. 11/25/13

Not only did Katnis catch fire this week 11/25/13……………..
Truth be told, there has been a zone I’ve prayed not to be sent to. When I found out I was being transferred and still “STL”ing, this zone was out of the picture because the STL over there was rocking it. When President called transfer assignments, I wasn’t even really paying attention during this zone’s call because I wouldn’t be sent there. “Opening up a sister’s area, training and continuing as Sister Training Leader in Acworth, Cartersville Zone, Sister Miyahara and Sister Watts” I turned to the sister next to me and asked if he just said my name and with great shock, I stood up confused and concerned. And when I sat back down my stomach dropped and I had the first somewhat panic feeling I’ve had on my mission.  I instantly prayed, begging my Father for peace, assurance, greater faith then forgiveness for my doubt…because wall-a, course the Lord’s plan is always better!
Sister Watts and I jumped into our new Chevy Cruise and headed up to Carterville. We were told that President Harding felt strongly impressed that we needed to temporarily live at the Stake President’s home. So we pulled up to President Chase’s home and BAM it hit me! I had met him and his sweet wife at the regional Relief Society conference I spoke at with Sister Burton!! He even recognized me. Holy moly, tender mercy! Insta-friends! We moved our stuff in and wow, it just felt so right.
I’ve LOVED every single second of our time so far in the Acworth ward.
Our short 4 days here has been packed with miracle after miracle. I couldn’t be happier. K im gonna try to sum up just a couple stories

::Day 1 we met with the Relief Society President and 1st counselor. After getting to know each other and expressing our great enthusiasm for this work Sister Petersen (RS President, an angel!!) said with tears in her eyes, "God knows me and He loves me because He sent me you sisters."

::We visited a part member family, bomb! Set up return appt for this week. She (nonmember) gave us a referral to her neighbor, Gracie. We went on over and had the most inspired lesson with Gracie.  She wants to be baptized and do whatever the Lord wants her to do. She gave us a referral, her daughter! So we visited her. We knocked and her husband opened the door and welcomed us right in! We sat down with them and got right into the beautiful restored gospel of Jesus Christ. They had said 2 days ago, “If we were to join any church, it would be the Mormon church.” Barbra accepted to be baptized and her husband will get there too. So many “I love yous” were exchanged. Barbra said to me at the conclusion of our lesson, “I think we were friends before. I think you’re the answer to my prayers.”

::Every night we’ve been here there has been some sort of a ward activity. Before Sunday we already knew by name so many families. These families are incredible! So much love overflows just talking to them. During Relief Society on Sunday, desserts were shared as we introduced ourselves to celebrate the prayed arrival of sister missionaries. So blessed and humbled it just doesn’t seem right.
::We called over 100 members of the ward: active, less active, part members, etc. Our planners are full of appointment of families thrilled to have sisters in this ward. Never has this ward has sisters, ever! Our ward mission leader told the ward during ward council, "these sisters are novelty items now, their spirits will make them legends here"
::Living at the Chase home is changing my life. The compassion, love, and goodness in that home radiate the whole neighborhood. President and Sister Chase have become like parents and their youngest daughter, Catie, is our third companion sister. Their entire family is in town for the holidays and last night we circled around grandma on the piano and sang hymns so happily. I took a step back and thought to myself, this is exactly what I want for my future, a family and home centered around the Savior and His perfect teachings.

The Acworth ward has caught fire! I couldn’t feel more thankful during this Thanksgiving week. We'll be spending it with the greatest family ever :) I'm just at a loss of words. God knows best. I was silly to ever pray away this place. The sisters we are working work are inspiring! My heart grows a new chamber every day. Trust in the Lord, trust Him forever...I've decided I will and that decision will shape my life.

Happy Thanksgiving to y'all! Gobble till you wobble :)
Sister Miyahara